How To Write A Rap Song Using Storyboards

We’ve all experienced that moment when you attempt to write a song but “The Force” just isn’t with you! Regardless if you’re struggling to get your song started or are having difficulties staying on topic throughout the songwriting process using this simple Storyboard technique will prove to be an invaluable asset. Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

The picture below is a realistic example of how I use storyboards. I’ll expound on each step so that you understand my thought process within each section.

Music That Moves

This is the first step. It’s important to pick an instrumental that moves you emotionally. If you’re not really into the instrumental then it will likely be more difficult to write to it. If you’re feeling the instrumental then you can identify what emotions you’re experiencing which will also bring thoughts and ideas for your songwriting.


This is where you jot down any and all ideas that come to mind. You haven’t committed to any topic at this point so it’s okay to be random. You’re just trying to document what you feel emotionally along with what ideas come to mind.

The Hook

After you’ve brainstormed for a few minutes it’s time to commit to a topic or theme you want the song to be about. In this example, I went with “my first heartbreak” and scratched out “death of a friend” just because I wasn’t in the mood to go that deep at the moment.

The less specific the hook is the more flexible you will be during the songwriting process. Also if you knock out the hook first you will have more focus and clarity while writing your verses.

In this example I want the hook to basically say “I’ve never felt like this before, I’ve never felt this way before”. Again, these are just ideas. Once I start playing adding lyrics to the hook the melody or cadence I come up with may require fewer or more syllables but at least I know what I generally want to say beforehand.

Verse 1

Since my hook doesn’t say anything about breaking up with my girlfriend I can now be creative on how I wish to structure my verses. If I began verse 1 with immeditaly talking about my break up it wouldn’t mean anything because there isn’t any context. Instead, I decided to take a smarter approach and begin my song from… well… the beginning of how this actually started! lol!

For verse 1 I decided to talk about having a crush on a girl I was afraid to ask out. 16 bars is plenty of time for me to paint the picture for this section of the song. My goal is that I want the listener to experience my insecurities. I want them to feel how vulnerable I am as I’m trying to build of the courage to put it all on the line at the risk of facing rejection.

Verse 2

In verse 2 I’ve not only built up the courage but now I’m talking about going on my first date with her. What was I so worried about? All is well with the world! My crush and I are now an item! Yaaay MEEEE! Perhaps I’ll speed up the timeline a bit in verse 2 and cover about 6 months of me and my new girlfriends awesome time together.

The storyline is progressing and as it does notice how the “general and vague” hooks keep having slightly different meanings based on what the verses are saying leading up to them? “I’ve never felt this way before

Verse 1 is about never being so vulnerable and afraid of rejection.

Verse 2 is about never being in love before.

Verse 3 is about never having your heart broken before.

Verse 3

Now it’s time to throw a curve ball at the listener while giving the hook a dramatically different meaning. Up until now, you think the song is about falling in love. Now it becomes about feeling betrayed and hurt since you see the person you were in love with, out with someone else after they started acting distant toward you.

Because we took the time to paint the whole picture from the beginning until now, the heartbreak has context and consequently has much more impact! Always remember that songwriting is all about context!  How things are connected together and being set up throughout the song. Having context is what also makes punchlines hit extra hard!


As an added bonus perhaps you leave the listener with one final punch by using something that’s quotable for example “Never fall for someone unless they are falling with you”.

This leaves the listener with a conclusion which adds extra value to the song. Perhaps the listener is going through a similar situation and by giving them some insight you’re able to help them through a tough time. If you’re able to do this you will likely have a fan for life! It’s one thing for someone to enjoy a song but to have their life impacted in a deep and profound way is a whole nother level!

No Lyrics

Keep in mind that no lyrics have even been written yet! This is just the storyboard which is basically an outline or the plan you’re using to execute your song like a Jedi Master!

Using storyboards gives you clarity on what you’re trying to say and your action plan for getting your ideas across. If you use this method you will know if you have a dope song or not before you even write the lyrics! The next time you write a song try creating a storyboard first and see what happens.

One Last Thing

If this article was helpful to you please let me know by dropping me a comment below. I’d really appreciate it!

  • Dope, I have done this before but mostly in my head, which doesn’t bring as much clarity as writing it out, thank you for this tip.

  • You have said it all cole, this is the best lesson i have ever learned in hip hop!!! This was absolutely helpful.

    • I’m really glad to hear that NewPac! What an honor! Thanks so much for your positive feedback! I’m happy to hear this was so helpful to you! Much love and respect! 🙂 – Cole Mize

    • My pleasure Zion! I don’t have anything super new, but you can check out my most recent stuff by clicking BIO here on my website. I hope you enjoy! : ) -Cole Mize

  • I have been following you from a long time,and your stuffs are really good.I will definitely use this method to write something out soon,thanks a lot for your time.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback Ayush! I’m really glad to hear that this article was helpful to you! Keep up the good work and I’ll be sure to do the same! Thanks again for your support! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Oh it’s you again.. lol. J/k, preesh
    I make video games, I’m too white to rap, like eskimo white, but raised in the dirty south , so I’m an eskibro.. always listened to rock like pantera, then I prayed for guidance and wisdom on my own, my family military, not religious at all, yet when god answered my prayer homie, he led me to Dee-1, and my life changed, I now see what we gotta do. an to my surprise, it lives in rap, the most debase trash I have ever heard in my life.. yet, there is God, right there, in rap bro, fuck smackin giants in the name of Christ.. so i said fuk it, gave it a lil dabble, an it came out powerful, but my hook skills not strong with the force.. lol.. so I started researching how to get better at it, an you keep comin up. so, jus wanted to say thanks man. If I cared about money, Id been a lawyer an I would totally donate to ya, but im broke asf, with a baby mama and three kids lol, fuk debt, they aint God, what they gon’ do? Squeeze water out a rock, I don’t think so. Shit.. That’s prolly a hook right there ain’t it? lol, again.. thanks, you got me thinkin bout shit a lil differently, If I get rich, Ill hook yu up, bet.. but I wouldnt roll the dice on that one, cuz I dont gaf about money… at all
    Peace be with ya bro

  • Hah!!.. It worked homie lol. that’s what’s up. Did exactly what you said.. Storyboard hard asf.. Feel bad for my childhood bullies atm, tbh.. Their names on the story board frfr. 25 years growin a block above they own head, bout to crush em.. TY!

    • now I gotta go.. I see why you do the story board, its basically a design document, ppl like Bill Gates make when makin a winner like windows (good example, but if you know the deets, then you know it’s a bad example. and if you know that, then you know Bill is a fukkin pirate, a thief, yet the world is lookin to him? why? Jus sayin, if ur readin this, u must be bored, so follow this dudes Idea, an storyboard that shit an beat me to it, Got some bullies to deal with tonight 100 ;P Very informative. My analytical mind needed your explanation.

  • lol, ok, im going now tho. jus wanted your professional opinion. After tryin what you said,.. here is my design doc.. i mean story board.. written to this beat -> What ya think, curious, this my FIRST storyboard. Am I on the right track you think? J/w..
    Here is the story board.
    “emotion – faith in God, mad at self, all good with everything, hard as fuck
    with my love<-where Im at
    concepts -Where Im at in my heart

    Hook – God on top, im with him, but me an you still equal too, Love you both, yet God is first tho

    verse 1:
    Growin up I had bullies (germany Fabias. middle school Tim Odom, high school Michael Chaulker smackin me, still aint ever held me down

    verse 2:
    I grew up, yet ppl worship money, I didn't, I was left out to dry. on my own, still aint cry, I learned life can do whatever, except hold me down

    (flip it)
    verse 3:
    Now I see truth. Met Jesus, To my bullies thank you. To them selfish snakes. thank you.. if not for you, id selfish as you too, but im not, been buildin up ur hate like a genius buyin stock, time has come, Im sellin all that stock on top, problem is, you on the choppin block karma holdin yu down now bitch ass

    Like all the people out there like me bullies stepped on an laughed at.. We never forgot.. Make amends, or face the wrath of God."

    I think I understood ya teach… Was that a good example of what ur tryna teach? That's all I need to know brother.. It feels right, but analytically, I can't run with shit lest it be empirical.. if ya feel me on that

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